United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) will organize a two-day conference on public economics for development, in Maputo, Mozambique on 5-6 July 2017.

Despite successes in poverty reduction and improvements in health and educational outcomes in many low-income countries, development challenges remain extensive. They cannot be addressed effectively without a well-functioning public sector. This requires both building up tax systems that generate required revenues in an equitable manner, and organizing a well-functioning system of public service delivery. There is as well a pressing need to enhance the functioning of the public sector in developing countries — also policy action needs to be better served by analysis and data.

The conference focuses on the lessons from modern public and development economics which can guide policy makers to reform tax and public provision systems. The conference will take stock of current evidence on the impacts of the public sector on the economy and the wellbeing of citizens, and about ways to improve tax and public spending policies. An important goal of the conference is to identify avenues for future research.

With that objective, the conference will bring together about 150-200 participants from the academic, government, and development communities from all over the world and provide a forum to discuss innovative, theoretical, and empirical research. The conference will consist of plenary sessions with keynote speakers, parallel sessions with contributed papers, and a poster session.

We welcome submissions using both micro and macro analyses. Some examples of topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • The impacts of taxes and transfers on individual and firm behaviour (such as employment, savings, and investment)
  • Tax avoidance and evasion, including international tax avoidance, and ways to combat them
  • Normative analysis of the design of tax and spending policies
  • The role of cash transfers in poverty alleviation
  • The impacts of taxes, transfers, and the provision of public services on poverty reduction, the distribution of income and wellbeing more generally
  • Analysis of behavioural interventions targeted to guide individuals’ decision-making
  • Efficiency of and equity in public service delivery
  • Revenue mobilization and taxation in the extractives sector (oil, gas, and mining)
  • The link from improved tax collection to a more efficient and equitable public service provision

Submission procedure

Interested applicants wishing to present original research should complete the online application form here. We particularly encourage submissions from early-career, female, and developing country researchers.

The application will require:

  • An up-to-date CV
  • An abstract not exceeding 300 words which should summarize the research question, the main methods and data, and key findings of the paper and the larger implications of the research
  • A full-length paper OR an extended abstract
  • the first page of the paper or extended abstract should include all author names and affiliations and the above-mentioned 300-word abstract
  • in PDF format
  • written in English

The full-length paper should be 6,000-10,000 words long, whereas the extended abstract should be 1,500-1,800 words long

Any queries on the call for papers should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Previously unpublished papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in the WIDER Working Paper series.

Important dates

13 March 2017 23:59 EET - paper/extended abstract submission deadline

13 April 2017 - target date for acceptance/rejection notification

1 June 2017 - final papers due

5-6 July 2017 - conference

Conference package and travel support

For accepted participants, travel support can be provided for one author per selected paper using the most economical travel route subject to UN guidelines; preference will be given to authors from developing countries. If required, UNU-WIDER can also provide visa support.

UNU-WIDER will provide hotel accommodation and most meals during the conference. There is no conference fee.

Conference language

The conference proceedings will be in English; no simultaneous translation will be available.